[Buddha-l] Ethical Dilemmas

Joy Vriens joy.vriens at gmail.com
Sun Jun 13 06:04:30 MDT 2010

Hi again,

> No one suggested anything of the sort. What I identified as "wrong" was the
> daily sacrificial system of the Aztecs, not Aztec culture as a whole,
> whatever that was or might mean. If eliminating the sacrifice would
> irreparably destroy the culture, then the culture is built on a sick
> foundation and its loss a victory for decency and the saving of countless
> lives, as was the defeat of the Nazi regime.

"According to René Girard, human culture has been founded on two principles,
which he calls "mimetic rivalry" and the "surrogate victim mechanism."
Mimesis refers to the propensity of humans to imitate other people both
consciously and unconsciously. Girard developed a mimetic theory of the self
in his early work as a literary critic (Deceit, Desire, and the Novel: Self
and Other in Literary Structure [French, 1961; English 1965]). Such
novelists as Cervantes, Stendhal, Dostoevsky and Proust taught him that
humans learn what to desire by taking other people as models to imitate.
Aware of a lack within ourselves, we look to others to teach us what to
value and who to be."

"During the course of evolution, Girard believes a long series of primal
murders, repeated endlessly over possibly a million years, taught early
humans that the death of one or more members of the group would bring a
mysterious peace and discharge of tension. This pattern is the foundation of
what Girard calls the surrogate victim mechanism. Often the dead person was
hailed as a bearer of peace, a sacred figure, even a god. Fearful that
unrestrained violence would return, early humans sought ritual ways to
re-enact and resolve the sacrificial crisis of distinctions in order to
channel and contain violence. "Good violence" was invoked to drive out "bad
violence." This is why rituals from around the world call for the sacrifice
of humans and animals. For Girard, the sacred first appears as violence
directed at a sacrificial victim, a scapegoat. Every culture achieves
stability by discharging the tensions of mimetic rivalry and violence onto
scapegoats. Scapegoating channels and expels violence so that communal life
can continue. As mimetic tensions recur, a new crisis threatens, and sacred
violence is once again necessary."

> That children are brainwashed to think Jews are apes and pigs, that honor
> killings are now taking place in Europe, etc., that plane hijacking, murder
> at the Olympics, suicide bombers, etc. have been gifts from the Islamic
> world to the rest of the globe --- all that is true -- they're not Wilders'
> fantasies.
I still don't see what you meant by bugs and bug exterminators...

I have to listen to Henk now

More information about the buddha-l mailing list